Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ketchum gets its groove on

Party weekend packs music venues, sports events

Long legged models strut the catwalk at Warm Springs Lodge after the halfpipe finals Saturday evening Photo by Sabina Dana Plasse


Express Staff Writers

There was dancing in the streets, literally, for The Honda Ski Tour, and the dancing didn't end until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday nights.

A carnival for the 21st century, The Ski Tour erected heated tents to create a BaseCamp Pavillion, which included a Crocs Lounge for entertainment as well as street fun with jumbo television screens both Friday and Saturday nights.

In addition, DJ McClain spun dance party grooves while break-dancers showed off their moves on a frigid Main Street. With cocktailers and mini bonfires dotting downtown, many found the set-up to be a nice "warm-up" break before heading off to another party.

Despite the below zero temperatures on Friday evening for the headline band from Kingston, Jamaica, The Wailers coaxed several hundred people to warm up to their sweet reggae sound, which both young and old music lovers enjoyed.

One Wailer's fan, Ketchum resident Nancy Winton, said she was hearing good reports from friends, all of whom were long-time locals.

"They're saying, 'We haven't seen street dancing since the 1970s,'" she said. "It's about time."

In addition, every music venue in town hosted music acts including the talents of Daniella Cotton, Reardon and Friends and Kamphire Collective. Late night, DJs such as the well-known DJ Logic and DJ Zuz kept the parties going until told to stop the spin.

It was a cold but bluebird day on Saturday at Dollar Mountain, where a huge crowd of patrons turned out for the newly sanctioned USSA event skiercross competition. Bundled fans hiked the hill lining the sides of the course to cheer on the world's best skiercross athletes.

At the base, kids kept busy and happy with sledding and mountain activities in sponsor tents. Sun Valley Co. owners Earl and Carol Holding kept warm in a sunny corner until the time arrived to present the Harriman Cup to Casey Puckett of Aspen. Tour founder Kipp Nelson congratulated the skiercross winners with magnums of champagne.

Off the mountain, The Tour's festivities continued at the BaseCamp with an impressive showing of extreme sports photography where festival goers picked Tony Harrington as the best photographer at the Pro Photo Shootout. "Sledneckers" by Jason Moriarty won the audience award at the Limelight Film Festival. Afterward, Three Days Grace and Hinder played to adoring teenage fans inside the BaseCamp tent. The nightlife activities continued with private bar parties and sold out music shows, including a packed Whiskey Jacques' where reggae maestro Don Carlos kept people movin' and groovin'.

On Sunday, there was plenty of fashion and fun at Warm Springs, for the high-flying boys of the half-pipe.

"This Ski Tour is the coolest thing in 25 years," said Ketchum resident Mark Farris, while watching the winter fashion extravaganza organized by Debbie Burns of Burnsie's Boca. Several Sun Valley goddesses and professional models showed off fashions from Boca, Sturtevant's, Bunny Hill, and event sponsor Ice Breakers. An over-capacity crowd packed Warm Springs, which was clogged with folks hoping to get a glimpse of the long legged beauties on the catwalk.

Burns brought Kipp Nelson up on stage to loud applause.

"Thank you for bringing vitality and youth back to Sun Valley," she said. "The beautiful people are all here. Are we so spoiled?"

Longtime Ketchum resident Sid West had a front-row seat and summed up the event perfectly: "I had a ball," he said with his signature toothy smile.

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